Activision brings Skylanders franchise to iOS with Skylanders Cloud Patrol

Activision’s popular collectible toy-and-video game combo series Skylanders has made the jump to iOS devices in the form of Skylanders: Cloud Patrol. The new game is a touch-based shoot ’em up for iPhone and iPad developed by Activision subsidiary Vicarious Visions, the team responsible for the Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

Skylanders: Cloud Patrol’s story surrounds the escape of some ill-mannered trolls from the prison in which they were incarcerated. It’s up to the Skylanders to defeat them using their airship, which is equipped with a large gun.

Gameplay unfolds as a form of “shooting gallery.” Players move from area to area, trolls pop up and must be shot with the airship’s cannon. This is accomplished either by tapping on an enemy or drawing lines to link them and form combo attacks. Combo attacks are worth significantly more points but put the player at greater risk of accidentally clipping a bomb with their finger — if one of these explodes, the game is immediately over. The game also ends if weapon-equipped trolls manage to fire a projectile at the player and it is not shot out of the air in time.

Progression uses a similar objective-based system to popular titles such as Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride. The player has three objectives on the go at any one time, and completing these rewards the player with stars at the end of a play session. Collecting enough stars causes the player to level up and earn five “gems” — the game’s hard currency which may also be acquired via in-app purchase.

Gems are used to purchase additional soft currency, unlock magic items that provide various bonuses and acquire other playable Skylanders. Each Skylander has an associated “element,” and the game provides bonuses to the player if they start a game using a Skylander matching the “Element of the Day.” This encourages players to collect more Skylanders in order to make quicker progress and earn more soft currency, which may be used to upgrade the effectiveness of items found during play.

Gems are not the only means through which players can collect Skylanders, however. If the player owns the physical Skylanders toys, they can enter the “Web Code” from their toy to unlock the equivalent character in Cloud Patrol. This is a sensible move that helps those who are avid collectors of the figures feel like they are getting additional value from their purchases — and from Activision’s perspective, it helps to strengthen the Skylanders brand across several different interactive offerings.

It’s also worth noting that it’s not necessary for the player to know anything about the Skylanders franchise to enjoy Cloud Patrol. It’s a simple, effective  iOS game that is a lot of fun to play and has been received well by App Store reviewers. It features strong social play via Game Center leaderboards and achievements, and monetizes in a non-obtrusive manner. Players can earn hard currency at a good rate through gameplay alone, but those who wish to make quicker progress have the option of purchasing it. Crucially, since this is already paid app, it never feels necessary to purchase gems to have a satisfying experience. In short, it’s an excellent addition to the iOS library of “easy to pick up, hard to put down” quick-hit experiences and deserves to enjoy some success.

Skylanders: Cloud Patrol has enjoyed a feature spot as Apple’s iPad Game of the Week, and is currently ranked at No. 4 in Top Paid Apps, No. 3 in Top Paid iPad Apps, No. 4 in Top Paid Games and No. 3 in Top Paid iPad Games. It’s also the No. 25 top grossing iPhone app, No. 31 top grossing iPad app, No. 26 top grossing iPhone game and No. 17 top grossing iPad app.

Follow Skylanders: Cloud Patrol’s progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.